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"To write a good young picture book ... You have to write with all the skill of an adult who understands words, rhythm, rhyme, character, and story and all the heart and soul of a child who understands joy, anger, sorrow, and wonder in their purest form, says Marilyn Singer. "It’s the wedding of our present and past selves that allows us to write a good young picture book. Then the illustrator completes the picture in every sense of the word."
Bedtime for Chickies is a rollicking fun read aloud that is perfect for young toddlers and preschoolers. It’s a solid board book with padded covers, filled with charming animals all trying to get some sleep. Everyone’s ready for bed except three little chickies who just aren’t quite there yet. They still need a drink, a story, and of course a visit to the potty.
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Last year, FitMania Boot Camp Specialists launched their first attempt at the world’s BIGGEST boot camp. Over 300 people got their sweat on for 45 minutes, felt great, and helped foster a community where individuals thrive in safe, healthy relationships.

In doing so, they raised over $6000 for the Women's and Children's Alliance in Boise, ID. The WCA offers “Safety, healing and freedom from domestic abuse and sexual assault.”

Learn more about the WCA and this event.  See:
"Republicans have been accused of abandoning the poor. It's the other way around. They never vote for us." - Dan Quayle

UPDATE: 11:44 a.m. MST. My orginal blog headline stated $46 million, because I was using the fact that "roughly $16.1 million will immediately stop once Idaho is out of compliance. An additional $30 million is also in jeopardy because compliance is also tied to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families."

But upon further research:

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “This is a bill of immense, immense consequences to the state of Idaho, to the state but mostly to the children of the state of Idaho, those that depend on child support payments for keeping body and soul together.” His voice cracking with fatigue, Rusche told the House, “This bill is required so that we can participate in the federal child support system. Without that participation, it will be very difficult, maybe impossible, to collect the over $200 million in child support payments that our Health & Welfare Department collects and dispenses.
Idaho made ABC News again!

Stranger than fiction.

But alas, this is Idaho ...

An Idaho House panel voted 9-8 on Friday to kill legislation to bring the state into compliance with federal child-support collection rules after some lawmakers said they were concerned about Sharia law influencing Idaho's enforcement authority.

SOURCE: Associated Press.

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Diane Corcoran Nielsen
"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

I'll always remember my years of teaching K-8 computer literacy and computer-aided instruction. There was something about the small time I spent with kindergarteners each day that made me learn more about teaching thanm perhaps any other experience.

For years teachers have seen students who were promising readers in the primary grades begin to experience challenges in third and fourth grades as reading materials became more difficult. University of Kansas researchers conducted a study with the goal of identifying how to better predict in kindergarten who might have reading difficulties in the future and to determine what extra instruction should include in order to help ensure their later success as readers.
The researchers worked with more than 350 Lawrence kindergartners to see whether they could predict which studedianenielsen100nts might have future reading difficulties. They also provided reading interventions focused on both aspects of learning to read words (phonics and letter identification) and comprehension (vocabulary and story understanding) with a group of students that showed some difficulties with language and reading-related assessments in kindergarten.
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Some Good Samaritan Home residents and staff
By Michael Strickland

"Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression," said Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling during her Harvard commencement address. "It meets a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts that is something on which to pride yourself but poverty itself is romanticized by fools."

It has always been hard to find low-income housing, and especially hard to find it in medium to large cities.

This creates a complex and powerful problem for those who weren't "born at third base." Most jobs can be found in the cities. To make things worse, the majority of employment, educational, and other opportunities --- for those who have little or no formal education and other barriers -- also can be found in the larger, populated urban centers.  This quagmire can often be devastating.

The cost of living in Boise is 3.5% greater than the Idaho average. The cost of living in Boise is 1.7% less than the national average.
But if someone's income is far below average, what are they to do?
Idaho women and individuals have the lowest median incomes in the country, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Women's median income in Idaho — or the income at which half of women earn more and half earn less — was $21,908 in 2013, 51st among the 50 states and Washington D.C. Idaho women's median income rose 2.9 percent from 2012.

That is why I was delighted to attend a luncheon a couple of weeks ago, where I learned about a very special place that is bucking the trend.
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Selecting books for young children can not only be a fun and rewarding experience but also a little daunting, considering the number of books available. Frequent collaboration between myself and a public librarian has produced valuable insights about how to begin reading with very young children.

In an article I wrote for The Reading Teacher in November of 2011, with Nampa, Idaho Children's Services Librarian Laura Abbott, suggestions are offered for how parents and educators can choose books that will encourage and motivate lifelong readers.

Six research-based areas defined by the Every Child Ready to Read @ your library program provide the framework: vocabulary, narrative connections, print motivation, print awareness, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness. Parents and teachers can evaluate various books based on this model. Our article offers several descriptions of books, and strategies for instruction and engagement are included with each.

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More than 90 percent of women in prison have experienced violence in their own lives. "Any One of Us: Words From Prison" will reveal the connection between women in prison and the violence that often brings them there. Presented by the University of Idaho Women’s Center’s V-Day College Campaign, this event brings raw voices of fierceness and honesty written by local women in Latah County and from prisons across the nation. These monologues will be performed by campus and community  members, moving forward toward healing, understanding, and change,  ultimately impacting laws and treatment of incarcerated women.
The University of Idaho Women’s Center will premiere its 2015 V-Day production, "Any One of Us: Words from Prison" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12 in the Pitman Center International Ballroom.
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This is a great opportunity for literacy educators:

Over at, their lesson plans, teaching resources, student interactive tools and mobile apps are accessed by over 20 million students and teachers every year.

However, we know there is no such thing as the perfect lesson or teaching resource. Have you ever been using one of our materials and had an idea of how to improve it? If so we want to hear from you!
Join the dialogue on Twitter or on the NCTE site above to share your ideas for taking ReadWriteThink from good to great!

And you can hare or tweet your thoughts, revisions, and suggestions to #ourRWT!



Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 07:31 PM PST


by The Book Bear

Definition of CANDLEWOOD
1:  any of several trees or shrubs (as ocotillo) chiefly of resinous character
2:  slivers of resinous wood burned for light
I love pouring through the more obscure closets and corners of stories and travel to find hidden treasures. In our age of flashiness and being bombarded with sensory overload, the simple, subtle and tasteful often seem to bring out greater beauty.

Here is one of those gems, Candlewood Lake (CT) (Images of America):

At the turn of the century, the Rocky River valley was a quiet, productive farming community nestled in the foothills of Connecticut's Berkshire Mountains. On July 15, 1926, the Connecticut Light and Power Company's board of directors approved a plan to create a lake for the purpose of producing electric power, a decision that changed the face of the valley forever. Plans moved quickly, and the company bought the valley land and built several dams to contain the water. On February 25, 1928, the fill-up began, and in a mere seven months, Candlewood Lake was born. The historic images in Candlewood

The authors illustrate the history of the lake basin from its beginnings to the present day.

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This has always been one of my favorite educator and writer gatherings.

I hope to see you there:

I invite you to the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Convention in Tampa, Florida, for a different kind of R&R: Risk and Reward. This theme acknowledges that risk is critical for innovation and action, two key outcomes I hope we can all foster at the 2015 CCCC Convention. When you join us in Tampa, you’ll see that many of our members are transforming the work of writing and composition. - Joyce Locke Carter Program Chair 2015 CCCC Annual Convention
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"As a young man, I saw families prosper without reading because there were always sufficient opportunities for willing workers who could follow simple instructions. This is no longer the case. Children who don't read are, in the main, destined for lesser lives. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to change this." - Walter Dean Myers

The National African American Read-In Is Hosted By The Black Caucus Of The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) And NCTE February 1 – 28, 2015

During the month of February, schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, community and professional organizations, and interested citizens are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting an African American Read-In. Hosting an event can be as simple as bringing together friends to share a book, or as elaborate as arranging public readings and media presentations that feature professional African American writers.

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I've noticed many more middle aged, fit-looking white males casually riding bikes around Boise State University's campus today. And there are guys squatting and staring at the ground for long periods of time (and they do not have the usual BSU maintenance uniforms on).

I am glad they are working to keep our president safe.

This will be my fourth time seeing a sitting president.

Regardless of who holds the position, it is always a special experience. There is something about watching the White House staff, the White House Press Corps, and whatever glimpses of the presidential motorcade or Air Force One you may receive, that reminds me of the awesome power of the office itself.

Here's my list of being around U.S. presidents in person:

1) As a reporter, I covered Bush the first, speaking in NJ at a fundraiser for Gov. candidate Jim Courter (who lost to Democrat Jim Florio).

2) Pre-Lewinsky and at one of the heights of his popularity, I shook hands with Bill Clinton on Martha's Vineyard at the fair.

3) I waved to Hillary and Bill outside an Oak Bluffs, MA bookstore and they waved back.

4) Nice job Boise State University!

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